Recently, Lisa Graas wrote a piece entitled “Top 5 Lies of the Pro-Abortion Left.” I read it expecting a lot of holes, a lot of nonsense, and a lot of misunderstandings about what the pro-choice movement is. Sadly, Lisa Graas did not surprise me.
Lie #1, about people who are “personally pro-life,” is a tricky one for me. Surprisingly enough, I actually almost agree with Lisa Graas on this (except reversed, of course). When people call themselves “personally pro-life” what that means exactly is up for interpretation, and it differs from person to person. From my understanding, “personally pro-life” generally means that that person believes abortion should be legal but also believes that abortion is also a moral wrong. By this definition (I’m sure there are many different interpretations and definitions), I do disagree with being “personally pro-life.” I do believe that being against abortion, even just personally, is harmful. Keeping abortion legal and accessible is only one goal of the pro-choice community. Destroying stigma surrounding abortion should be another priority, and we can not destroy this stigma unless we accept that abortion is a good thing and that it is a moral right. Another problem with “personally pro-life” is that is implies that a pro-choice position isn’t pro-life. Excuse me, but we are not the ones who kill doctors and threaten others with violence. Pro-choice is pro-liberty, and if you are not pro-liberty, you are certainly not pro-life.
Lisa Graas’ second “lie” listed is, “If You Don’t Want an Abortion, Don’t Have One.” I’m having a hard time seeing how this could be considered a lie. This is simply a statement and a logical one, at that. By all means, if you don’t want an abortion, please don’t have one. In this segment, Graas tries to compare abortion to heinous crimes such as domestic violence and slavery. Forced pregnancy involves a great intrusion upon a woman’s bodily autonomy. This is not true for people who owned slaves, nor is it true for people who abuse their children or spouse. A person’s bodily autonomy is not being violated when he is forced not to own slaves or forced not to hurt his family. For that reason, abortion does not compare to social injustices such as slavery or violence. This argument is just another anti-choice straw man.
In this third section, Graas is saying that fetuses are babies and that pro-choicers are liars for stating otherwise. She does not cite one medical source or fact in this entire section (despite implying that abortion is more dangerous than childbirth, when that is obviously untrue). The word commonly used by pro-choicers to describe the “unborn” (I cringe at that word, it reminds me of a zombie horror movie. Seriously, antis, please think up of less creepy names for this) is “fetus,” which does have a medical definition (technically, fetus doesn’t apply to all pregnancies/abortions, but it is a common blanket term). Baby, however, doesn’t have a medical definition. Since the word “baby” does not have a medical definition like “fetus” does, its use is much more subjective. Because of this, pro-choicers are not lying when we state that a fetus is not a baby any more than a person who says that a two year old is no longer a baby is a liar. Fetus is a clear cut word; a fetus is no longer a fetus as soon as it is born. Baby does not have that same clear cut definition. No amount of science is ever going to prove that fetus=baby. Sorry, antis.
Lie #4 tackles the belief that, even if abortion takes a human life, it’s still okay. Graas sends out the message that anything that takes human life is automatically bad or evil, but somehow, it wouldn’t surprise me if Graas is okay with self defense or war, despite the fact that both of these can and do take human life. Graas states that “If we could accept such a thing knowing, using our own reasoning, that abortion literally ‘takes life — human life’ and still be okay with it, it is clear that we would then be willing to inflict any violence whatsoever in order to satisfy our passions for money, lust or other pleasures of the world.” First of all, Graas has neglected to mention that there are cases where taking human life is considered morally acceptable. Something tells me that Graas isn’t against self defense or war (although I could be wrong). You can’t just say “it takes human life so it’s automatically wrong” unless you think that it’s wrong in every single case. Abortion, like self defense, goes much further than whether or not it takes human life. Believe it or not, there is a woman involved in this. Her rights should always be considered. Second of all, Graas implies that abortion is done for “money, lust, or other pleasures of the world.” What a way to demonize women, Lisa. Abortion does not happen because women think that it’s some amazing joy ride. Believe it or not, women do take this seriously. There is nothing wrong with women having sexual freedom or experiencing pleasure; that’s great. However, it goes further than just that. We are talking about women’s lives and women’s liberty (which is composed in part of sexual freedom, of course). We do care about these things. Women are smarter than you think, Lisa. As amazing as lust and pleasure are, abortion goes much deeper than that.
In “lie #5″ Lisa Graas states that pro-choicers claim that “We Should Not Use Science in Debating the Abortion Issue.” This was the section where I stopped to wonder if Lisa Graas has ever even spoken to a pro-choicer or if her perception of us is just based on anti-choice rhetoric. I have never seen any pro-choicer claim that it’s wrong to use science when debating abortion. However, there is a huge difference between science and junk science. There is also a huge difference between science and opinion. Graas claims that modern day science proves the existence of fetal personhood, and, well, last time I checked, “personhood” is not a scientific or medically defined term (just like “baby”). There is also much more to consider about abortion than whether or not the fetus is a human being/alive/a baby/the person who will cure cancer/whatever anti-choicers feel like arguing over at that given time. THERE ARE WOMEN INVOLVED IN THIS, ANTIS. Even if a fetus is a human, that does not and should not take away from the humanity of the woman. Even if a fetus is a person, that does not and should not take away from the personhood of the woman. Something that has always frustrated me about the abortion debate (on both sides) is that we obsess over the fetus and we forget the woman involved. When we debate abortion, we often neglect to consider the woman’s life, rights, and autonomy. This must change, because women deserve better.